2023 marks 60 years since the arrival of the Australian Army Training team (AATTV) in South Vietnam (SVN) on 3 August 1962 – and 50 years since the withdrawal of combat troops in 1972.
FILE PHOTO: Vietnam Memorial, Canberra. Photo by Laura Larking.
The Australian government intends to mark the occasion with a Commemorative Service, televised nationally by the ABC on 18 August 2023 from the Australian Vietnam Forces National Memorial (AVFNM) in Canberra.
Many Vietnam Veterans and the next-of-kin of KIAs are too old or frail to attend this ceremony.
To account for this, the Vietnam Veterans Vigil (VVV) will provide surviving Vietnam Veterans and the Australian people the opportunity to participate in other meaningful ways right across the nation and overseas in recognising the national loss and paying their respects to those who were Killed in Action (KIA) and to show solidarity with their loved ones for their loss.
It is intended to hold a Service of Remembrance at every grave or Commemorative plaque site across the nation and overseas on 3 August 2023.
The first being a Dawn Service Dawn Service, to be held at the AVFNM in Canberra.
Other Services will be held at 11am local time across Australia and in Malaysia.
The last Service, at Dusk, will be held in Scotland, where LCPL Robert Buchan is laid to rest with his Mum and Dad.
VVV is asking for volunteers to co-ordinate each Commemorative Service.
You can find more information on the VVV website – vvv.org.au
On the website is a list of all Australian KIAs, a map showing which towns across the nation they are commemorated in and detailed information on how you can help.
There is even a suggested template for the prepared Commemorative Service and links to the sound recordings you may wish to include.
It is requested that every grave visited be photographed by those in attendance.
Those photographs can then be downloaded to the Virtual War Memorial of Australia website.
Full and easy instructions are provided.
This collated virtual Gallery of Remembrance will provide an enduring legacy of Remembrance for all Australians, now and into the future, to reflect upon.
While the intent is to visit the graves of all 523 KIA, a secondary aim is to visit the graves of any other Vietnam Veterans, who have since died and are buried in the same cemetery.
Organising committee members and patrons were all members of the Australian Vietnam Forces Welcome Home Parade 1987 and the Australian Vietnam Forces National Memorial Committees.